This vegan pumpkin curry is simple and ready in 30 minutes. A great but easy autumnal dinner to comfort you with warm spicy flavours when the days are getting shorter and colder.
We at Vegan on Board love curries, and we love seasonal food. Now in autumn, we often have comforting meals that warm our hearts on a cosy day in, or when we come home from an outing in the chilly, windy or rainy outside.
On those occasions, we don’t want to spend ages making dinner, or work our way through complicated and lengthy recipes. What we do want is a straightforward recipe that’s easy to follow, and without tons of preparation gives you a satisfying, flavourful meal.
This vegan pumpkin curry is just that. The prep just involves chopping some onion, garlic and pumpkin (or squash), and the rest comes together practically on its own. Now that’s an autumn meal to our liking!
This vegan pumpkin curry is:
- Warming and comforting
- A bit creamy, a bit spicy, a bit sweet
- Vegan, dairy free and gluten free
- Easy to follow
- Simple with just 10 ingredients
- Ready in 30 mins
You need just 10 ingredients to make our pumpkin curry – and they are really easy to get, too.
- Pumpkin – The bulk of this meal! When you got hold of one of those big pumpkins that seem to never end – this recipe is perfect for using it up!
If pumpkins are not in season yet, see the section on substitutions below for tips on what you can use instead.
- Onion and garlic – for that savoury flavour
- Coconut milk – To add some creaminess!
- Coconut oil – For frying the vegetables at the beginning. Virgin or coconut oil works great here. Its otherwise often dominant flavour gets diluted in the sauce of the vegetables.
- Spices – The heart of any curry. We keep it simple with curry powder and garam masala, two very common spice mixes that work quick magic in combination!
- Salt and sugar – for balancing the flavours.
- Toasted cashews – to add some crunch and protein to the dish. If you’re in a hurry, you can skip the toasting. But for us, it adds the perfect finishing touch.
Do I need to peel pumpkin?
The peel of pumpkins and their squash relatives is edible, but can become unpleasant and too hard to chew if the fruit is too mature.
Most pumpkins have thick skin and you will want to peel them. Butternuts and some other squashes can have a more soft skin that becomes even softer when cooked.
To test the hardness of the squash skin, try to break through it with your fingernail. If it is hard or impossible to pierce through – or if you are in doubt – it’s better to peel your pumpkin or squash to avoid ending up with bits of tough skin in your finished meal.
Step by step
You’ll find the full recipe in the card below, but here’s a quick visual overview of the cooking steps. Once you’ve prepped all your veggies, you’re good to go!
Step 1 – Heat up the coconut oil in a well-sized pan and stir-fry the onion until starting to brown.
Step 2 – Add the garlic and squash and fry for another 1-2 min.
Step 3 – Add coconut milk, spices, salt and sugar and some water, bring to a boil and simmer until the pumpkin is soft and tender and the sauce has thickened.
Step 4 – In the meantime, you can toast the cashews in a pan on medium hear until golden brown. Keep stirring so they don’t catch.
Variations and substitutions
- Pumpkin. If it’s not quite the season for pumpkin yet, squashes take its place well in here. Butternut squash is a good fit. We also love the red-orange ‘Kuri’ squash, a.k.a. ‘Hokkaido’, ‘hubbard’ or ‘onion squash’, for its creamy-soft texture when cooked, and it’s earthy flavour quite similar to pumpkin. Butternut squash is great too.
- Add some potatoes. This works well along with squash that’s more watery when cooked, as the potatoes add starches to bind and thicken the sauce. You could even replace pumpkin or squash entirely with potatoes to make this a recipe for potato curry instead!
- If you don’t have any coconut oil, you can replace it with any cooking oil such as sunflower, canola, or even olive oil.
- To make this recipe refined sugar-free, you can use natural alternatives such as agave, maple or date syrup or coconut sugar. Or put a twist on the recipe and add diced apples in place of sugar, which work surprisingly well and make this pumpkin curry even more autumnal. Dried fruit like organic raisins or cranberries are great, too.
- Spices. This is the part to put your personal touch on. We keep it simple with our trustworthy curry powder and garam masala, but you can mix and match your favourite flavours or any spice mixes you have at home. Keep the amount the same for a good level of flavour – or dial it up if you want it more intense.
- Finally, to replace cashews, seeds like sunflower seeds or – thematically appropriate – pumpkin seeds toast really well, too. They might also offer a more regional option than cashews. Peanuts would also work and add their distinctly different flavour to the dish.
Serve it with…
Here are some ideas on how to serve our vegan pumpkin curry:
Obviously, it goes really well with rice. Brown rice is a great alternative to white rice. It offers more nutrients, fibre, and a bit more bite, so it goes really well with the soft pumpkin and the creamy sauce of this curry.
Or try something different! Our red lentil flatbreads are really simple and easy and add some extra protein.
We hope you enjoy this pumpkin curry recipe! Check out these other great vegan recipes for fall:
This onepot Lentil Risotto with Butternut Squash
These pillowy soft Pumpkin Gnocchi with Crispy Sage ‘Butter’
And our famous Apple Curry
Vegan Pumpkin Curry
- In a saucepan on medium heat, melt the coconut oil and fry the onions until it translucent and beginning to brown.
- Add the pumpkin and garlic and fry for another minute.
- Add and mix in the coconut milk, water, salt, sugar, curry powder and garam masala and bring to a boil.
- Turn the heat down to low-medium and simmer until the pumpkin is tender and the sauce thickened considerably. Stir occasionally. This takes approximately 15-20 mins.
- Toast the nuts or seeds in a small frying pan on medium high heat. Once they start to toast, they brown quickly, so watch out not to burn them.